Caregiving Dementia Family Stories Memory care

Why Caregiver Support Groups are Important

The diagnosis of a progressive disease can be overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider – right from the start – that it can lead to a mix of emotions from feelings of confusion, helplessness and even anger. What should I do? What do I do first? What if I am wrong about  _____________ ? You fill in the blank. 

 Let’s be honest about this. For most of us, these are uncharted waters. Even if you are a medical professional or you have cared for a loved one in the past, the information changes so fast and is so specific to the diagnosis that it can feel like you need a crash course in the disorder. And – there is the fact that everything is different when it’s someone that you love. 

This may be one of those cases where “going it alone” is not advised. Being able to check in with a support group who understands your role can prove to be one of the best tools that you have. You can get information, support and even validation that you are doing everything that you can to help your loved one receive the best care possible.

Support Groups Are People Who Understand

tional Institute of Health, support groups have a proven benefit to caregivers and patients alike.  Programs designed to support caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other diagnosis of dementia can help improve the quality of life for the caregivers and delay nursing home placement of the patients, two new studies have found. Plus, it also helps reduce the incidence of depression and feelings of being burdened for caregivers.

Getting More Information From Those that Know

A good support group focused on your needs or topic can provide a wealth of information from people who have experienced what you are experiencing. The folks in the group have the time to be able to truly listen to your concerns and may even be able to steer you toward additional resources that can help you fulfill your needs or perhaps gain a sense of perspective. 

Emotional Support

– Support groups by their very name offer emotional support to their members. Sometimes just knowing that there are other people that you can talk to – who have experienced what you are experiencing is comforting and can help you feel less “on your own”. 

Additional Resources

Support groups are frequently moderated by the subject matter experts such as the Alzheimer’s Association , American Stroke Association , Parkinson’s Foundation  as well as the Silver Century Foundation,  a group that addresses topics surrounding aging and the many forms of dementia.

Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Social Isolation

A recent survey by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) found that family caregivers in the US were more likely to report loneliness in comparison with those in midlife or older people who were not family caregivers (prevalence of 42% compared to 34%).

Factors related to the caregiving role, such as caregiving stress, also increased the likelihood of experiencing loneliness. Shrunken personal space and diminished social circles caused by the demands of caregiving contribute to the feelings of loss both in terms of the diminished social capacity of the patient but also by the loss of outside social relationships. 

The introduction of a support group creates and supports an expanded social circle that understands the limitations of intense caregiving. And while family and friends may be a comforting presence, their focus is typically on the care recipient and on the caregiver to a lesser extent. The support group offers the caregiver a safe environment in which to bounce off ideas, gain information, hear the latest news or to just plain vent in a non-judgemental forum.

Find the Support Group that Fits Your Needs

There are support groups that fit virtually everyone’s needs. As a by-product of Coronavirus protocols, virtual support groups have taken a very prominent place in caregiver support. 

There are now many virtual forums where folks can gather on one of the on-line meeting platforms to meet, form relationships, and seek information and reassurance. In the Bucks County/Philadelphia area, those looking for a forum that focuses on Memory Care and the many forms of dementia can dial into one of the area’s pre-eminent experts. Maggie Sullivan of the Silver Century Foundation has devoted her life to helping those who help Alzheimer’s patients. 

Maggie will be conducting a Caregiver’s Support Group at Chandler Hall, the first Friday of every month from 1:30-3:30p.  Maggie is also providing a free, virtual support group on the first Wednesday of every month. Click here to learn more.

Remember – we are all overwhelmed at times. But when we take advantage of the resources that are available to us, we become smarter and maybe a little better able to recommit ourselves to our role as caregiver to those who need us. We hope to see you at Maggie Sullivan’s Caregiver Forum.

Join our Caregiver Support Group

If you are caring for someone with dementia, or if you’re worried a family member is showing signs of Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses, consider joining our Caregiver Support Groups. Led by Maggie Sullivan, our groups meet on the first Wednesday of every month online, and the first Friday of every month in person at the Wright Meeting Room on our campus from 1:30 – 3:30 pm. Just click the button below and find out how to sign up. You’ll meet others also caregiving for people in similar circumstances, and learn ways to make this journey easier for everyone.

Click here to learn more

Dementia Memory care

The Dementia Journey

Dementia now requires more supervision than you can provide. What do you do? That is the question faced by thousands of caregivers every day. And there is no easy answer and no easy decision.

Understanding the Options- and the Journey Ahead

The best thing you can do is to try to understand options that may be available to you and your family. And to truly understand all of your options, it is important to know the possible cause of the signs of dementia, the expected progression of the disease and how your loved one can remain safe and cared for. In short – there is no easy answer but knowing your options can help you formulate a plan. And knowledge is power – even when we talk about dementia.

I’ve Rationalized Long Enough

There comes a time when an uncomfortable feeling that you have becomes a talking point in family conversations. 

“I drove with Dad to the post office and he completely forgot where it was.” “I know, he did that with me when we went to Uncle Peter’s house.”

Or, “Mom just bought an extended car warranty – again!” 

These interactions can be excused away for a time – but as the frequency of occurrence increases it becomes clear that a different level of care or supervision is needed. 

It is important to understand the levels of dementia.

Mild Dementia

In this early stage of dementia, an individual can function rather independently, and often is still able to drive and maintain a social life. Symptoms may be attributed to the normal process of aging. There might be slight lapses in memory, such as misplacing eyeglasses or having difficulty finding the right word. Other difficulties may include issues with planning, organizing, concentrating on tasks, or accomplishing tasks at work. This early stage of dementia, on average, lasts between 2 and 4 years.

Moderate Dementia

In this middle stage of dementia, often the longest stage of the disease, brain damage causes a person to have difficulty expressing thoughts and performing daily tasks. Memory issues are more severe than in the earlier stage. Someone in this stage might forget their address, be unable to recall personal history, and become confused about where they are. Communication becomes harder. The individual may lose track of thoughts, may be unable to follow conversations, and may have trouble understanding what others are saying. Mood and behavior changes—including aggressivenessdifficulty sleepingdepression, paranoia, repeating actions or words, hoarding, wandering, and incontinence—may be seen. This moderate stage of dementia, on average, lasts between 2 and 10 years.

Severe Dementia

In late-stage dementia, also known as advanced dementia, individuals have significant issues with communication. They may not verbally communicate at all. Memory also worsens, and individuals may not be able to remember what they had for lunch. They might forget family members’ names. It’s possible they may think they are in a different time period altogether and revert back to their childhood days. It may be too difficult to walk, and extensive help is needed for daily living activities, including personal hygiene and eating. At the end of this stage, the individual will most likely be bedridden. This severe stage of dementia lasts approximately 1 to 3 years.

Levels of Care

Deciding on the level of care that is right for your loved one is important. But it is important to remember that the progression of dementia has its own timeline based on many factors. The general health of the patient plays an enormous part in the progression of the disease, as does the type of dementia, prognosis, amount of mental and physical stimulation and living environment. 

Finding the right “care fit” requires a certain flexibility and watchful eye on the patient’s needs at any given time. An individual might not require a specific care scenario in the early stages of dementia as “day” help and family oversight can frequently provide enough care and coverage to ensure safety and well-being for a period of time until symptoms worsen. However, as the progression of the disease advances, it is important to understand the appropriate options and levels of care available for your loved one. 

Personal Care or Assisted Living in Early Stages

Assisted living residences combine room and board with medical and personal care, and are often sufficient for someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Full-time supervision means residents are safe, with living units like private studios or apartments so someone with mild dementia can still feel a sense of independence.

Services offered typically include meals, help with activities of daily living (ADLs), social activities, and transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. Before moving in, the residence will assess your loved one to make sure it’s a good fit.

Memory Care in Middle to Late Stages

Some residences offer Memory Care. Memory care is better for someone in the middle stages of dementia, when independence has become more difficult. Memory Care can be a wing or special section of assisted living, or there are stand-alone memory care homes. These are more appropriate for people past the earliest stages because staff is trained specifically to communicate with and care for people whose needs are particular to dementia. Speaking with someone who has dementia requires careful technique. Similarly, activities for people with dementia are more considerate of the participants’ ability (or inability) to function and understand.

Memory Care residences have physical designs that are appropriate for people with dementia. Residents are encouraged to decorate their “homes” or apartments in close approximation to the home that they left. Creating a familiar layout and placing loved pictures and objects in their new living situation helps to make for a smooth transition. Memory Care residences offer a safe environment. Because people with dementia are prone to wander, memory care residences have increased security and supervision. 

Doing Your Homework Early

No one likes to think of what “might” happen. Our eternally optimistic selves like to focus on “beating the odds” or creating the best outcome by ourselves. But when it comes to the health of our loved ones, knowing what may lie ahead – just in case – is the smart thing to do. In fact, studies show us that transitioning to Memory Care during the moderate stage of dementia leads to easier adjustments for both the resident and family. 

The Memory Care team at Chandler Hall has devoted years and thousands of hours of expertise to helping folks with memory needs transition from a challenging life at home to a secure and fulfilling life of Person-Centered Care.


Transitioning into Memory Care

Remember when you moved into your first apartment? I remember being alternately excited and nervous. My fear and anxiety were mostly that I had never lived on my own before. But I was young and had confidence in my ability to “figure things out” and had my family who could back me up if I needed it.

Now take this same scenario but fast forward 40 or 50 years, and the excitement and anticipation that I once felt about moving has given way to an altogether different point of view. My previous desire to “go out and find myself and set the world on fire” has given way to the feeling that “my world is just fine” and “I am more than happy to stay put with what I know, my things and my memories.” The only problem is that It keeps getting harder to do just that.

As I make every effort to hang on to my life the way I know it, I also know that my confidence is a little shaky because I seem to forget things. My parents are long gone, but I do have adult children and nieces and nephews who can help me out – if they have the time. I don’t like to bother them. And I have a few medical conditions that I am having trouble staying on top of – I can never remember if I took my medication. But that is not too serious – Is it?

I know that I should probably move into a smaller place or get some help but all of my memories are here where I am living now. I really don’t want to move to a care home. I hope my memory doesn’t get worse. This fear of moving or relocating is real. It affects people of all ages but is especially difficult for seniors or folks suffering from the early stages of dementia. It is called Relocation Stress Syndrome.

Relocation Stress Syndrome

Tracy Greene Mintz, LCSW, a nationally recognized expert in relocation stress syndrome, characterizes the syndrome as a cluster of symptoms that can occur in anyone who moves from one environment to another, whether a child who has to change schools or an adult who transfers to a new job in a new city. Symptoms of Relocation Stress Syndrome can include irritability, anger, and anxiety, among others. Those most at risk for transfer trauma are individuals with Alzheimer’s/dementia who move from their home into a long term care community and for those who move within a community from one level of care to another. These folks often still feel capable of living at home and resist making change, as well as having difficulty adjusting to change. They frequently lack the insight to know that they are at risk and lack the objectivity to make decisions regarding their care or living situation.

Adding confusion to the decision-making process is that in the early stages of dementia and even after, persons with dementia retain strong long-term memory, but their limitations in short-term memory and new learning memory disrupt their ability to cope with change. If they’ve lived in their own home their entire lives, they feel secure and comfortable, and familiarity allows them to have some independence. A move erodes their comfort and confidence. The unknown and the unfamiliar may cause fear and anxiety that may remain until they are able to forge new relationships, get better acquainted with a different physical environment, and gradually adjust to change.

Tips for Successful Transitions

It is important to recognize that each person’s transition to a new living situation will be different, depending on the reasons for the move and how much the person moving is able to consent or help facilitate the move. But when a move is in the best interests of you or your loved one, these few tips will help make the transition easier.

  • Do your homework and make sure that the community that is chosen is the best possible one for your loved one. Make sure that you fully understand the policies and procedure for move in, visitation, meals, security and stimulating activities. Having a comfort level that you have made the right choice is important for everyone’s peace of mind.
  • Try to avoid telling your loved one that they need more help. Many people needing memory care h-ve no idea that they need memory care. To suggest that they do will enlist a combative response. Offer limited choices and avoid open-ended questions such as “Do you think that you are doing fine here at home?” Remember, the typical response will be “Of course!”.
  • Attempt to recreate familiar surroundings. Recreating the home environment helps to reduce confusion and agitation. Make sure that your care community knows all of your loved one’s likes and dislikes – what TV programs are part of their regular routine – favorite foods, clothing and the like. It has been observed that certain TV programs at certain times of day can help to “signal” mealtime which can prove a valuable aid to keeping up with nutrition. 
  • Include Things to Feel at Home. Also a home-like environment that incorporates many of your loved one’s personal items may help to minimize “wandering” in those with advanced dementia as folks like to stay with what is familiar and known.
  • Keep it Familiar One of the best tips we have gotten from people who help with senior moves is to take photographs of the cupboards in the kitchen and where things are, and do the same for the bathroom and bedroom. And to the extent possible, recreate the environments and placement of things like drinking glasses and silverware, towels and toothbrushes, and clothing in the same place in the new apartment that they were at home.  That will help the person accommodate to their new home with less stress about everything “Being in the wrong place.”
  • Work with your Counselors and Memory Care staff to help ease the Transition. It is important to remember that everyone is going through this transition together. Family members can offer invaluable insight into managing certain behaviors. And Caregivers will keep families abreast of any new developments. Taking a “team” approach to Memory Care is a welcome and standard approach in many communities. 

In the southern Bucks County area of Pennsylvania, Chandler Hall goes through an extensive process to discover each and every resident’s likes and dislikes as well as understand the whole person – their past selves as well as their current self. Discovering and maintaining connections is an important part of resident care. 

Those initial few weeks after move-in to Memory Care are difficult for everyone. That is why it is important to the Caregivers at Chandler Hall that families know that they are not alone. Each family is introduced to Maggie Sullivan’s dementia support group Silver Century Foundation, one of the preeminent voices on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia of all kinds.

There is No Rule Book

The journey through Memory Care is a difficult one to plan. There is no real “normal”. We always like to think that our case will be the exception to the rule. And sometimes it is. But often the decisions that we make early on in the process are the ones that set the tone for a smooth transition or a more difficult one. Always remember that information is power.

There is No Rule Book

The journey through Memory Care is a difficult one to plan. There is no real “normal”. We always like to think that our case will be the exception to the rule. And sometimes it is. But often the decisions that we make early on in the process are the ones that set the tone for a smooth transition or a more difficult one. Always remember that information is power.

Dementia Memory care

When it comes to Memory Care, Action is Everything

There are few of us past the age of 60 who don’t feel a little tinge of anxiety over mislaid keys or a forgotten name. It’s really not about those missteps, is it though? It’s about the nagging feeling that it could be something more than something slipping your mind. Deep down inside, we all worry that any of these common missteps could be a sign of early dementia. While the occasional grasping for a name that should be on the tip of our tongue is not necessarily cause for worry, it’s a good thing to know when we should begin to pay attention and maybe think about what we can do to help keep our brains as sharp as they can be.

Pay Attention to the Troubling Signs

Early dementia is difficult to diagnose. Quite simply, many of the early signs can also be attributed to stress, reactions to medication, and having too much to do on our plate. But it’s important to note when mistakes or missteps begin to outweigh the times when you are feeling sharp and in command. When you start to ask whether you should be concerned- or if a friend or family member mentions something- that’s the time to simply do a check-in appointment to see your family doctor for a medical and cognitive evaluation. It may be something as simple as a medication change or having some basic tests done to make sure everything is ok- but without this check-in, you’ll never know for sure.

But it’s not bad, so why worry?

While there are now several promising medications that may help or even delay cognitive decline, they are only really helpful in the earliest stages of cognitive change. Because so many people put off addressing these subtle changes until much later on, they often miss the window to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses until there’s very little treatment available to change the course of the disease.  That’s why keeping an eye on concerning changes as we age is an important first step to being proactive in maintaining brain health. 

Understanding More About Dementia/Cognitive Changes

Short Term Memory Loss

While this is one of the most prevalent and worrying early signs of dementia, short-term memory loss can also be caused by some of the factors mentioned above. It is important to note that some memory loss is actually age-appropriate.  In fact, many women experience a bit of this during perimenopause and menopause, due to hormonal changes. 

Age-appropriate memory loss  looks like forgetting what you were going to say but remembering it a few minutes later – or making an occasional small financial mistake or forgetting to pay a bill on time. Even momentarily forgetting the names of one of your friends or grandchildren can feel like you are missing a step. These one-off or occasional occurrences may feel concerning, but may be entirely appropriate for your age. 

Basic good health advice is good brain health advice. Getting enough rest, eating well, and exercising regularly are all steps that can help you feel better and keep your brain healthier as well.

But if you are still feeling troubled and would like to be proactive in helping to keep your “brain healthy”,  research has shown that certain “brain exercises”  can help to boost your memory.

Brain Healthy Activities

The simple act of reading can keep your short term memory exercised and help keep you mentally sharp and informed. According to a study published in JAMA in 2018, Dementia risk was significantly lower among those who reported daily participation in intellectual activities, like reading books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as playing board games. The benefits of intellectual activity were independent of other health problems, lifestyle factors (fruit and vegetable intake, exercise, smoking, etc.), demographics and socioeconomic status, according to researchers.

Easy ways to stimulate your brain health are to subscribe to periodicals that make you consider and think. Or join a book club. If you are not a “joiner”, there are now many on-line game options like backgammon, mahjong and other activities that stimulate your memory, recall and strategic thinking skills.

Other Concerning Signs to Track

Other early warning symptoms for cognitive decline may include self-isolation, agitation and confusion- all of these can creep up on a person. They tend to be written off as “having a bad day or in a bad mood”. But if the “bad days” begin to outnumber the good days – it may be a sign of early dementia. 

For example, mental confusion can range from a bit of cloudiness to a constant state of mental disarray. A commonly reported symptom of confusion is the inability to match a face with a name. Confusion may also cause a person to use poor judgment. In some cases, a person with dementia may cease to interact with people, withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed.

Again, we all can have moments when a name is just beyond our grasp or we fail to understand what is going on, but if you feel that your ability to correctly judge a situation is happening more often or that you or your loved one is increasingly unable to function independently, then a proper and complete evaluation is the necessary next step.

Deciding on a Care Plan

If after a medical evaluation you find that you or your loved one is truly experiencing the signs of dementia, it is important to make a care plan early on in the process. Making a care plan early on in the process while the patient can participate in the planning helps both the patient and family understand the potential progression of the disease. But more importantly it helps both patient and family create a plan that they are actually able to execute. 

Discussions about advanced care planning are sensitive in nature and may need the input of specialists. So many factors need to go into a care plan that the active participation of potential caregivers, care recipient, financial advisor and your medical team are all critically important to planning for the best possible outcome for both the patient and family. Plus, being able to understand how the disease progression may impact the ability of the patient to receive care at home and for how long, from family members is important to know up front. 

There are many care options available from home care with the assistance of family members and experienced home health care aids, to Personal Care living situations and Memory Care communities like Chandler Hall located in lovely Newtown, in Lower Bucks County, PA. Chandler Hall  specializes in early and late-stage dementia care. What’s more, Chandler Hall’s Quaker-based Person-Centered Care staff is experienced in Memory Care, even at early stages when people are living independently in our residentia living and personal care residences, honoring the person within no matter what stage they are in their life’s journey. The caring team at Chandler Hall is committed to reinforcing the link to the individual – the person within. It is the Chandler Hall way.

Action is Everything

When talking about the potential for Memory Care, action is sometimes hard to take. Our innate sense of optimism and desire to carry on as we have been sometimes works against our best choices for a better outcome. But if you feel that you would like to have a conversation with a caring person who can help you sort out your options, I urge you to contact our experts here Chandler Hall. Just email Jeanene Reigel- Palmer at or give us a call at 267-291-2302. We’ll be happy to help you process your concerns and help you formulate a plan for your next steps. Difficult discussions are never easy. But they can be made easier with the help of a caring and knowledgeable professional. Our goal is to help families navigate the journey, and understand all the options and the road ahead to make the choice that’s best for your family.

Need More Information About Memory Care?

Just click the button below to download our free guide, Navigating The Journey of Memory Care, to help you understand the complexities of the cognitive changes that occur, where you can get evaluations, and helpful information for families and caregivers about ways to support those experiencing cognitive changes.

Caregiving Dementia Uncategorized

Dementia Affects The Whole Family

The very word “dementia” strikes fear into every person over 65 and every daughter or son over the age of 40. Because, when signs of dementia first appear in you, your spouse, a parent or another loved one, you know that your world is about to be turned upside down with difficult diagnostics, family dynamics and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. But there are ways to prepare yourself, smooth family dynamics a little and ultimately help your loved one cope with the kinds of loss that is unique to dementia patients.

The story that I am about to share with you is true. It is the story of how my husband’s family and I had to deal with the diagnosis and progression of my mother-in-law Nancy’s dementia during the pandemic of 2020. It is also a reflection on what we could have done differently that would have helped us plan Nancy’s dementia care in ways that would have provided her with better, more consistent care, as well as address the imbalance of caregiving responsibilities that so often burden the closest family member. 

Here is Nancy’s dementia story:

We started to realize that Nancy was having some difficulties living on her own a number of years ago. She had started avoiding her friendly get-togethers for very vague reasons, saying that the activities had just gotten to be “too much” and that she was going to find other things to do. But hindsight being what it is – we now realize that it was getting harder for Nancy to keep up with conversations and participate in activities. She began to feel less like part of the group and more like an outsider. But these were all vague feelings that were easy to rationalize away.

My sister-in-law, Pam who lived nearby, was able to pick up the slack and help Nancy with bills, appointments and to help her problem-solve when things became too confusing. Pam was able to keep Nancy “scheduled”. After all – the goal was always to keep Nancy at home for as long as we could. But when Nancy’s dog died – losing her own personal anchor, Nancy’s ability to maintain a schedule suffered. She had lost that furry companion who reminded her to wake up in the morning and when it was time to eat and walk. So vitally important tasks like taking her medication began to be forgotten too, which led to several hospitalizations.

During one of those hospitalizations, Pam asked the doctors to perform a series of neuro-psychological evaluations. It was then that we realized the extent of Nancy’s decline. We could no longer explain away Nancy’s behaviors with a simple shrug of the shoulders or a “you must have misunderstood”. These reports helped to change the focus from isolated behavioral lapses to a documented problem that the family needed to help Nancy address. Suddenly, the geography that separated the family and the pandemic that made it hard to see these lapses for ourselves were irrelevant. We had hard proof that Nancy needed our help – even if she didn’t realize it yet.

Time for Next Steps

The family made the decision that Nancy would move into assisted living directly from her hospital stay. Using some of the tips that I picked up  from the wonderful folks at Chandler Hall in lower Bucks County, PA, we tried to make her new home in assisted living feel as much like her old home as possible so as to reduce confusion and feelings of disorientation. For example, all of the dishes and silverware were in drawers as close to possible as they were before her move to assisted living. Her bedroom and living area were all arranged like before down to the pictures on the walls. We must have done a pretty good job, because Nancy didn’t seem to notice that her apartment had changed. She simply thought that she had new neighbors and new routines. She was happy for the structure that was provided for her. And she seemed to improve with more consistent company of these new friends and neighbors.

Family Care is Still Needed

My sister-in-law Pam was still the contact person and bore the brunt of the responsibility for Nancy’s care and saw Nancy weekly if not more. When Pam noticed changes in Nancy’s behaviors, she would notify the Assisted Living staff and adjustments would be made in her living situation for as long as they could without going into a specific Memory Care Unit. Maintaining consistency and routine is vitally important to patients with dementia. And much as we wanted Nancy to be able to maintain her current living situation, within about 6 to 8 months, it became clear to us that Nancy needed the kind of care that only a qualified Memory Care team could provide. The problem was that meant that Nancy needed to move to yet another facility. Nancy’s steady cognitive decline meant that a move to a new place with different ways of doing things would be more difficult for her. We were told to expect setbacks.

Nancy lives in Florida – not in Bucks County. If she were in Bucks County, Nancy would be able to take advantage of the continuum of care offered at Chandler Hall. By having a complete continuum of care – from Independent living, Personal Care, Assisted Living, Memory Care and beyond, the residents at Chandler Hall can move through their advanced years with a continuity of care, friends, caregivers, and familiar faces in a secure and welcoming environment.

Change is Harder when Memory is a Challenge

One of the things that became apparent in the early days of Nancy’s cognitive decline was that in order to form relationships with people, you need to remember small things about them. Things like their name, where they live, their family story and their friends and connections all help us to stay connected to our sense of who we are and how we relate to where we are. If you can’t remember any of those details, the people around you blend in together leaving you to remember feelings, but unable to remember any of the facts that form the backbone of conversations and relationships. Moving to a new facility would be disorienting. Nancy would need to learn to trust new staff, caregivers and other residents. That might prove to be difficult.

We have learned through our experience just how important having the ability to access appropriate on-sight care is to our loved ones and also our entire family. Knowing that your loved one has consistent, appropriate, professional care is – quite frankly – everything! It provides enormous peace of mind to both the family and the patient. Plus, it helps to ease the transition anxiety that family members may experience when facing the difficult decision to move their loved one to a different kind of living situation.

Making Hard Decisions

Moves are disruptive – for anyone. We want the best for Nancy and yet we need to respect the process and bring reluctant family members along too. We want people to know who Nancy is – who she really is.  A good family relationship helps, of course. But it is the continuity of care that gives everyone the peace of mind that each resident and their family deserves. Nancy is still present. She has needs, likes and dislikes. There are flashes of her humor, her wit and her personality that appear every day. But we know that the Nancy we know is getting “thinner” every day as she slips further into her dementia-induced isolation. Right now, we are waiting until Nancy hits a point where even the most reluctant of our family members can no longer deny that Nancy needs specific help in Memory Care. And that will mean a harder, more difficult move to yet another facility that “specializes” in Memory Care. 

Nancy’s journey is ongoing. And by default, our family journey is too. So my final word to you is, “Do your homework up front!” When you are considering personal care, assisted living care or memory care for a loved one, think about the importance of having a continuum of care on one campus, with experts who know how to provide the expertise you might need within the framework of a community you will need. And if you are in the Bucks County, Newtown PA area, look into the wonderful programs at Chandler Hall where Person Centered Care is the hallmark of all that they do.